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New NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro – Are The Updates Worth The Price?

The new NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro promises more power for streaming media and playing Android games. With upgrades like a faster processor, Dolby Vision support, and a new remote control, it aims to be the ultimate cord cutting device.

But should you spend $199 to upgrade or buy the new model? In this in-depth review, we‘ll see if the enhancements are worthwhile.

Tegra X1+ Processor – 25% Faster for Snappier Performance

The new Tegra X1+ processor provides a nice bump in speed compared to the previous model‘s X1 chip. Benchmarks show around a 25% increase in graphics performance and 15% faster CPU speed.

This translates to notably quicker loading times and smoother framerates in demanding Android games. For example, graphics-intensive titles like Fortnite run with fewer drops in FPS for a better gaming experience.

The interface and streaming apps also benefit from the extra horsepower. Menus and selections have little to no lag when navigating around. And switching between apps feels seamless and snappy.

For video streaming, the X1+ gives enough overhead performance to easily handle 4K 60fps playback with HDR color and object-based surround sound.

Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos – More Immersive Video & Audio

Dolby technologies provide upgrades over standard dynamic range video and surround sound.

With Dolby Vision, supported content has a wider range of colors, better contrast between dark and light areas, and more dynamic metadata for scene-by-scene adjustments. This gives a more natural, lifelike picture compared to basic HDR10.

Dolby Atmos audio tracks objects and sounds in 3D space for more immersive, cinematic sound. You‘ll need an Atmos-enabled speaker system to experience the benefits. But for media enthusiasts, it can make movies and shows sound much more enveloping.

However, Dolby Vision and Atmos adoption is still limited compared to standard HDR10 and 5.1 channel audio. While nice to have, they shouldn‘t solely justify an upgrade.

New Remote Control – Functional and Versatile

The redesigned remote control is a big improvement with its triangular body and dedicated buttons for essential functions.

The motion-activated backlit buttons light up automatically when picked up in the dark. No more fumbling blindly for volume and playback controls.

The remote locator feature is genius. Just say "OK Google, find my remote" and the SHIELD will make the remote beep so you can retrieve it from the couch.

It has an IR blaster to control your TV volume and power too. And the built-in mic supports hands free Google Assistant commands.

Gamers may still prefer the optional SHIELD controllers. But for media streaming, the new remote is very convenient and versatile.

Plenty of Power for Streaming in 4K HDR

With the updated hardware, streaming high quality 4K HDR video is effortless. The X1+ GPU can easily decode leading formats like:

  • HEVC (H.265)
  • VP9 Profile 2
  • Dolby Vision

This enables smooth playback on apps like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Vudu, YouTube and others.

You‘ll have no problem finding 4K content to watch. SHIELD TV supports all the major streaming platforms including:

  • Netflix
  • Prime Video
  • Disney+
  • Hulu
  • YouTube
  • Plex
  • NBC
  • Spotify
  • Plex

And many more. The Google Play Store grants access to thousands of apps.

Smart Home Control and Hands Free Voice

Google Assistant is built into SHIELD TV for handy voice control and smart home integration.

You can use conversational commands for playback control like:

"Hey Google, play Stranger Things on Netflix."

"Hey Google, pause."

"Hey Google, resume playing."

It‘s also a smart home hub for controlling compatible devices like lights, locks and thermostats. Just link your Google Home account.

The always-listening microphone makes it easy to launch apps, search for entertainment, and get answers hands free.

Top-Tier AAA Gaming Performance

The SHIELD‘s upgraded GPU and RAM provide excellent Android gaming capabilities rivaling consoles.

You can play graphics-heavy titles like Fortnite, PUBG Mobile, GRID Autosport, Beach Buggy Racing 2 and many more. These games are optimized for SHIELD with customizable Android controls.

NVIDIA‘s GeForce NOW streaming service also lets you play high end PC games by streaming them directly to the SHIELD. Just connect a Bluetooth controller.

With GeForce NOW RTX 3080 membership, you get up to 4K HDR at 120 FPS for super smooth, lag-free cloud gaming. There are over 1,000 supported titles including many AAA blockbusters.

For gaming enthusiasts, the SHIELD TV Pro delivers desktop-class performance in your living room. The new hardware pushes it even further ahead of competitors.

Early Reviews – A Worthwhile Upgrade for Power Users

In early reviews and hands-on impressions, tech experts praise the SHIELD‘s upgraded hardware and Dolby support. But most agree the improvements are geared towards enthusiasts.

CNET calls it an "unequivocal powerhouse" that‘s "objectively the best Android TV device." But notes it‘s overkill for casual streaming.

Android Authority says the new model is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. But still appreciates the faster CPU and GPU for future proofing.

PCMag and TechRadar say it‘s the clear leader in high end streaming with perks like Dolby Vision. But the high price limits wider appeal.

Overall, the consensus is that power users will benefit most from the enhancements. But more mainstream options like the Chromecast or Fire TV Stick suit most people‘s needs.

NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro vs. Other Streamers

Device Price Resolution HDR Processor Remote
SHIELD TV Pro $199 Up to 4K Yes (Dolby Vision) Tegra X1+ (25% faster than previous model) New backlit triangular remote
Fire TV Stick 4K $50 Up to 4K Yes (HDR10) Quad-core 1.7GHz CPU Alexa voice remote
Roku Streaming Stick+ $50 Up to 4K Yes (HDR10) Quad-core CPU Simple IR remote
Apple TV 4K $179 Up to 4K Yes (Dolby Vision) A10X Fusion chip Siri remote

The SHIELD TV Pro tops streaming devices in terms of performance and features. But you pay a premium over more mainstream options. The new hardware upgrades further justify the price for enthusiasts.

Final Verdict – Great for Enthusiasts, Overkill for Casual Streaming

The NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro remains the undisputed leader in high end streaming capabilities and premium home theater features. The latest 2019 model stretches its lead even further.

If you want the best possible performance for 4K HDR streaming, DVD quality audio, and serious Android gaming, the SHIELD TV Pro is hard to beat.

But for more casual streaming, you can save money with a Roku, Fire TV or Chromecast device. The average user doesn‘t need this much power.

So while the upgrades are compelling for home theater buffs, cord cutters on a budget have plenty of capable options for under $100. Unless you have specific needs like Dolby Vision or GeForce NOW gaming, the standard model likely suffices.

But as a future-proofed streaming box and media powerhouse, the new NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro certainly impresses. For those willing to pay up, it‘s the undisputed market leader.

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